Thank you for the detailed response to my previous question. It was quite a pleasure to be able to read something of a scientific and analytical approach.
I was wondering if you could give me advice on a more personal vocal problem. It seems that I am unable to sing past my second passagio, quite a frustrating phenomenon! After some careful observation, it seems that if I adopt an open relaxed throat, I consistently flip into my falsetto around the primo passagio. This seems to indicate to me that I have been muscling my way up. This becomes evident the closer and closer I approach my second passagio, as my voice begins to show audible signs of strain until it cannot phonate properly. Is there any advice you can give that possibly can help me sing above the primo passagio and eventually the second passagio with a relaxed throat?
I’m glad you appreciated my answer. This next question about the passaggio is really the fundamental issue to resolve for all of us. It is the answer to completing our voice throughout the range.
Unfortunately there is no one answer to this issue. It is dependent on the overall coordination. The perfect attack has an important role. As does proper resonance form and breathing coordination. All of these are influenced by our posture as well.
So there is no short answer to your question except to just do everything correctly. A couple things that I can say to explore that can help would be make sure to round your vowel form/mouth as you ascend. This will help to keep the resonance inside, which reinforces the upper register and will help to allow the voice to adjust.
Also, learn to listen to what your body is telling you, like you are starting to do. On the surface it seems like flipping into falsetto is a problem. But really the body is telling you what it needs to do. The voice can’t go through the range in just one register. The upper register needs to be strengthened and connected. Otherwise you will have to resort to muscling the lower register up. Which is strenuous and uncomfortable.
In a way it is similar to what other wind instruments have with their register key. I also often compare it to a string instrument in the way they change strings for a new range. We change the adjustment of the voice. This allows us to phonate a new range of pitches without strain. If we don’t make the adjustment we will feel discomfort and hit a ceiling.
Another point I want to make is be clear about what you mean by “relaxed throat”. Of course we don’t want the strain you describe. But we also don’t want the larynx to be asleep. There needs to be free activity in all of the parts of the body involved. If something gets lazy it will cause the other parts to have to work harder. That is ultimately what causes strain – inappropriate relaxation.
So make sure your larynx is freely pronouncing the vowel/pitch at all times. Never rely on just the breath to do the work. The breath works with the larynx. Together they create the tone. If the larynx is not active the registers will be unlikely to adjust. That is why the perfect attack – or coup de glotte – is so important. Without it the larynx stays passive and doesn’t make its adjustments.
I hope this helps some. I did my best. But we are starting to get into the territory that cannot be answered only through words and descriptions. It has to be experienced with a guide. Best of luck. Let me know if anything doesn’t make sense.